Author Topic: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)  (Read 123 times)

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Offline aws22

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Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
Weight 8 gm
Diameter 27 mm
Metal Silver 0.835
Obverse: Head of Mercury facing right. Caduceus dividing date, designer at right, 1950 RAU.
Reverse: Lion facing left with Belgian constitution. Legend in French at left, value below. Designer initial at right. BELGIQUE, 20 F.
Caduceus is a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. It was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is associated with the Greek god Hermes, the messenger for the gods, conductor of the dead and protector of merchants and thieves.

Maythem
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 11:57:29 AM by aws22 »
Coin collecting has a curious name. It is also called the "Hobby of Kings".

Online Figleaf

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Re: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2019, 12:31:43 PM »
The story this coin tells is of reconstruction after the second world war.

The king of Belgium did not leave the country. The queen of the Netherlands left and became a symbol of resistance. The king of Denmark stayed and behaved in such a way that he became a symbol of resistance. The king of Belgium's behaviour was open to criticism. Even when he was succeeded by Boudewijn/Baudoin, there were widespread misgivings against the royal house. This is the reason the early coins of king Baudoin/Boudewijn do not have a portrait of the king.

The other side of the story is the climbing lion holding the constitution. It is an image from the first series of coins after Belgian independence. It refers here to the resurrection of Belgium as an independent state after the nazi occupation.

Historically, Belgium, the birthplace of Charlemagne, was a military football for the later Frankish kings of the West (France) and the Frankish emperors of the centre (Germany). Some areas developed into French speaking, others into Flemish (a form of Dutch) speaking and they didn't get along for centuries. The language division developed into an economic division when minerals were found and mined in the French areas. It became a religious and political division as socialists, supported by a majority of the Flemish speakers, took over education and caring for the poor, while conservatives, supported by a majority of the French speakers wanted the church to continue doing that. When the mines became un-economical, the Flemish part acquired more rights, very slowly. This is why this coin exists with Dutch texts also.

After the second world war, there was widespread destruction in Belgium. In particular, the port of Antwerp and the airports had suffered heavily and the railway system was wrecked. However, Belgium still had a well-trained workforce. With the invaluable help of Marshall aid that provided starting capital, economic reconstruction could begin. The situation was the same in neighbouring countries, notably Germany, a large Belgian export market. That gave the whole process a boost. The silver in this coin symbolises the success of reconstruction.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline aws22

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Re: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2019, 01:33:53 PM »
Thank you Peter for your comments, my emphasis was on the "Caduceus" and why is it there?

Maythem
Coin collecting has a curious name. It is also called the "Hobby of Kings".

Online Figleaf

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Re: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2019, 02:37:04 PM »
The heads of gods and saints are of course unknown, so they are an artist's interpretation. An old usage is to give portraits attributes, so that you know whose portrait the artist intended to make. In this case, the portrait intended is Hermes/Mercurius. To make that clear, two attributes are added: the caduceus and the winged helmet. A third attribute, winged sandals is used only on full length portraits.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline aws22

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Re: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2019, 04:22:19 PM »
Many thanks Peter.

Maythem
Coin collecting has a curious name. It is also called the "Hobby of Kings".

Offline chrisild

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Re: Belgium, Baudouin I, French text, 1950, 20 Francs, KM 140 (1949-1955)
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2019, 06:33:34 PM »
Belgium, the birthplace of Charlemagne

When Charlemagne was born, there was no Belgium ;) and in fact we do not know where he was born. What is known is that he was born on 2 April. The year? Maybe 747, maybe 748, based on deducting and guessing. The place where the later Charlemagne was born is unknown; from what I have read, the area between Paris and Compiègne is a good guess. Some people suggested Ver-sur-Launette, but all this is very vague ...

Christian